Dead Lake was the featured lake during the Otter Tail County Coalition of Lake Associations (COLA) gathering at the community room in Ottertail on Aug. 16. This lake, south of Dent, is the second largest lake in the county right behind Otter Tail Lake. It also is the 33rd largest lake in the state of Minnesota. "Our lake was classified in 1975 by the state DNR as a natural environmental lake," said Diane Lund, representative of the Dead Lake Association, to COLA members. Also speaking at the COLA gathering in Ottertail was Dead Lake Association member Terry Janes. She said the name of Dead Lake is linked to Native American burial sites. Historical input comes from the Otter Tail County Historical Society (museum) in Fergus Falls. "Several miles away, at Battle Lake, Chippewa tribes overcame the Sioux who buried their dead at Minisachada, which later became known as Dead Lake," according to Vicky Anderson, library assistant for the historical society.
More than 57,000 people call Otter Tail County their home. At one time this area was in Ojibwe hands. One of the Native American burial sites at Dead Lake is called Oak Knoll, on the north side of the lake's main bay. Nearby is the Dead Lake Wildlife Management Area. Dead Lake Township was organized in 1897. Dead Lake itself stretches over three townships, namely Dead Lake Township, Star Lake Township and Maine Township. The average depth of the lake is only 9.5 feet and there are 6,537 total acres on the lake. The lake is composed of three major basins. Dead Lake has eight resorts. "This is a beautiful area of west central Minnesota," says Joy Barnick, co-owner of Pocahontas Resort which has cabins and camping on the northside of Dead Lake near Highway 35. "We have many islands and bays for fishing and watersports," she said.